Who remembers the tale of the young man who was so fixated with taking selfies that the addiction cost him his job? How about the young woman who would have an attack of nerves if not able to check her Facebook account regularly? And what about you – do you feel even a little bit nervous when you are offline for a period? Do you feel you ‘owe’ your followers something and that you are a failed person if a post does not go out at 8:00 am every day or you haven’t conversed online for a while? Maybe you’re a parent slightly worried about the time your child spends on the internet? No longer a laughing matter, it appears that internet addiction is now a thing even if not yet officially recognised. (And by the way, the nervous young woman was my daughter aged 13 when she was first allowed Facebook. We are thankful she recognised what she was feeling wasn’t healthy and eventually came to us.) Ed

It was group discussion time at reSTART, a woodsy rehabilitation center about 30 miles outside Seattle. Four residents sat around the living room and talked about their struggles with addiction, anxiously drumming their fingers on their legs and fidgeting with their shoelaces. One young man described dropping out of college to seek treatment for the crippling problem that brought them all here: compulsive Internet use.

It is easy to scoff at the idea of Internet addiction, which is not officially recognised as a disorder in the United States. Medical science has yet to diagnose precisely what is going on in the brains of the addicted, and there is no clear definition of what entails an Internet addiction. Yet a growing number of parents and experts say addiction to screens is becoming a major problem for many young Americans, causing them to drop out of school, withdraw from their families and friends, and complain of deep anxieties in social settings.

Read on | The Independent